The owner of the fossilized ivory of 20,000 years

VietNamNet Bridge – Having four pieces of fossilized ivory dating back nearly 20,000 years, Mr. Son said many people offered to buy them at the price of $4 million but Son did not sell because he wanted to join scientists to study the history of the elephant species with the ivory.

fossilized ivory, 20,000 years, gia lai

The fossilized ivory dating back more than 19,000 years in Gia Lai.

Mr. Nguyen Truong Son, 49, a resident in Phu Hoi Ward, Pleiku City, Gia Lai Province is very cautious seeing strange guests because he owns four pieces of ivory fossils which is a 1.26 m long tusk when they are joined together.

According to Son, about 40 years ago his father – a photographer, often worked in Chu A Thai in Thien Phu District, Gia Lai Province. He usually lived with and helped indigenous ethnic minorities there. The village chief once presented the beloved artist four pieces of “rock” that locals said to be very precious.

Several years ago, the father who was over 80 years old gave the four pieces of "rock" with a total weight of 24 kg to his son. Once Son placed the “rocks” under his bed, since then his room was always cool despite harsh weather outside. When he assembled the four pieces of "rock" together, he realized that this is the tip of a fossilized ivory, stuck with multi-colored droplets.

"In my opinion, these droplets are lava glass. This assessment is based on the fact that the fossilized ivory was founded in the area which is about 30 km from the crater of the Ham Rong volcano of Pleiku City. Several documents say that lava glass can cool the surrounding space and can heal diseases," Son said.

Son took the fossil to the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology for C-14 test and the result is that the fossil was dated back to 19,450 BC. The Institute of Gems - Jewelry also granted a certification for this precious ivory.

Explaining why until now he hasn’t made his fossilized ivory public , Son said that it is because the Vietnam Heritage Act has allowed people to own antiques and treasures.

"Hearing about the precious ivory, many foreign merchants came to see me and offered to buy it for $4 million. Some also suggested a 50-50 profit sharing to take the ivory to exhibitions around the world but I refused because I want to work with scientists on research related to the history of the elephant with this tusk," he said.

Son, who has researched wild animals for many years, thought that the ivory belonged to the "ice age" and the elephants living in area at that time could be tentatively called F2, i.e. very close to the mammoth and Vietnam elephants today. The rest of the original tusk may be up to 2.8 m and weighs 48 kg.

fossilized ivory, 20,000 years, gia lai

Mr. Son and his son with the fossilized ivory.

Son wanted to clarify all credible information about the tusk in order to make a mock-up of the elephant with that tusk, in real size. This may be simply because Son does not lack money but the biggest concern of Son is whether the elephant of nearly 20,000 years ago was hairless like elephants today or hairy like mammoths.

"Many times I came back to the village where my father was given the fossil but I did not find any trace because the villagers were scattered in war," Son said.

Son is a wildlife expert and a member of the Institute of Sustainable Forest Management of the Vietnam Forestry Science and Technology Association. He has made about 20 valuable specimens of wildlife for the Institute and some universities of forestry, contributing to the study, preservation of many rare animals.

In addition, Son is also the son of the third-generation in a family with the traditional trade of making wildlife specimen and tanning.


fossilized ivory, 20,000 years, gia lai